New measure implemented to comply with stricter TSA regulations.
Cathay Pacific flyers bound for the United States will no longer be allowed to check luggage at two downtown Hong Kong train stations, as the airline tries to move in line with new, stricter “enhanced screening” procedures handed down by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The South China Morning Post reports the airline is the first to end the practice and will instead ask passengers to arrive at least three hours early to the airport.
According to the carrier, the stopped service is part of a set of new procedures intended to keep flyers safe in the skies. Other “enhanced security” procedures include electronic device inspection to ensure that they turn on, as well as a random “security interview” before boarding, similar to those awaiting outbound passengers from South Korea. Self-service bag drop will also close at the airport, meaning all flyers must speak to a ticket agent to check luggage.
The Hong Kong-based airline operates 14 flights to the United States, but only one will be unaffected by the new rules: Cathay Pacific Flight 888, from Hong Kong to Vancouver, continuing to New York. Those flying on Cathay Pacific are among an estimated 325,000 inbound travelers from 280 airports affected by the new security regulations, but they are not happy about it. In a survey published by the International Air Transport Association, nearly half of the respondents said they were “dissatisfied” with aviation security procedures.
Of the airlines flying from Hong Kong to the United States, Cathay Pacific is affected the most by the regulations. All three American legacy carriers – American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines – along with Singapore Airlines will not be affected by the changes and continue check-in in downtown Hong Kong.